Japanese company Seikodo adds CrystalCleanConnect

Boosts productivity and sustainability

(From L-R): Tatsunori Okada, Digital Direct Flexo Group manager/director; Osamu Kaneko, chief product and technology officer/director Project Planning Business Department manager/ Kanto Factory manager; and Arata Ohnoko, Asahi sales Manager. Photo Asahi Photoproducts

Asahi Photoproducts, a pioneer in flexographic photopolymer plate development, recently reported that Seikodo Corporation is the third company worldwide to install CrystalCleanConnect. Seikodo Corporation was formed in 1959 and is expert in helping its trade customers create artwork suited for flexographic printing and preparing it for print to achieve the best possible printed quality.

“Prior to implementing CrystalCleanConnect, we were using solvent-wash plates,” explains Kaneko Osamu, chief procurement and technology officer. “We were looking for a better solution that would improve our sustainability, contribute to our goal of carbon neutrality, and improve our work environment. We were pleased to learn about CrystalCleanConnect, which met all of those requirements and more.”

Osamu reports that in addition to its initial goals, with CrystalCleanConnect the company was able to transition from solvent-wash plates to Asahi’s AWP CleanPrint water-washable plates, while at the same time improving the overall quality of the plates it was producing, introducing improved production efficiency, and reducing both cost and waste. “Moreover,” he adds, “by introducing CrystalCleanConnect, a fully automated system, we are able to find a solution to the less skilled labor market and missing young talent in our industry. CrystalCleanConnect represents, due to its level of automation, an important solution to maintain high-quality platemaking output. All of this adds up to positioning flexography very competitively with offset and gravure for packaging printing.”


As the name implies, CrystalCleanConnect is a clean and sustainable process, said to be an industry first, with no VOC-based washout solvents due to the use of Asahi’s AWP T CleanPrint water-washable plates, with never-before-seen levels of automation, generating a cut plate which is ready for mounting. 

CleanPrint technology ensures a significant OEE improvement, up to 40% in many cases. And ink usage can be reduced by as much as 20% due to crystal screening technologies. Key to the CleanPrint technology is the fact that plates are designed to release ink, resulting in few, if any, press stops for plate cleaning, keeping a consistent print quality from beginning to end of the run. The close nesting of digital files enables precise plate cutting by the Kongsberg table and results in additional 10% plate waste reduction. It is the only automated flexo plate production that incorporates cutting inline.

The name CrystalCleanConnect derives from the Esko Crystal and Asahi CleanPrint product branding with the philosophy of connecting the printing form making value chain from design to print as one integrated workflow, the first-in-industry platemaking solution that includes this level of automation in balance with the environment including imaging, exposure, washout, drying and post exposure, and plate cutting without the use of any volatile organic compound solvents in the process.

Asahi Photoproducts was founded in 1973 and is a subsidiary of the Asahi Kasei Corporation. Asahi Photoproducts is a pioneer in the development of photopolymer flexo printing plates. By creating high quality flexographic solutions and through continued innovation, the company aims at driving print forward in harmony with the environment.

For more information about CrystalCleanConnect and other flexographic solutions from Asahi Photoproducts that are in harmony with the environment, visit


The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

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